In August, the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation launched the Reimagining Today’s Workforce Webinar Series. In an ever-changing workforce landscape, this series connects employers and community leaders with tools and best practices to support their talent development strategies, provides information on current workforce trends, highlights partnerships with education providers, and more.

The series of five webinars features national and local experts weighing in on relevant workforce issues. The October event focused on the timely subject discussing how COVID-19 has impacted the typical work environment and shared insight on the opportunities and challenges of working remotely and how the candidate experience is being impacted.

The webinar included an expanded discussion on the employee and candidate experience, including ways employers can increase their focus on diversity and inclusion, how contingent worker expansion is being utilized, and how a positive candidate experience can enhance their brand.

Attendees also learned how employers are redesigning their business plans, shifting their focus from efficiency to resilience.

The Foundation welcomed Mila Eldelman, Senior Director of Global Talent Acquisition at ADP as the guest speaker for the event.  Mila is responsible for all service implementation and operations recruitment below the executive level.

Focusing on Remote Work

Mila kicked the eventoff by discussing remote work and how the trend has grown exponentially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She discussed how ADP instantly and seamlessly moved 55,000 associates within two days to working in a remote environment.

As this new reality takes shape, employees have benefitted from working remotely with a non-existent commute time, increased flexibility, and the opportunity to focus on self care more than ever before.  A new normal has developed with kids waving in meetings and dogs barking in the background, instilling empathy and transparency in the workplace.

While this new normal has many advantages, remote work has presented a broader set of challenges for businesses to consider, including the risk of losing the work-life balance individuals may have previously enjoyed. Mila shared that organizations need to focus on encouraging employees to “leave” work on time, even while working from home.

Diversity and Inclusion in Hiring

Moving onto a discussion on diversity and inclusion, Mila stressed the importance of implementing practices as early as possible in the employer’s hiring and onboarding life cycle.  Employers can implement certain guidelines by utilizing diverse hiring panels, something ADP has adopted and has been seen more frequently at other companies as well.

Executing a diverse hiring panel ensures companies have broad representation and encourages more inclusive hiring practices. In addition, Mila recommends employers reflect on their company’s visual images on their website career page, being mindful of what demographics are represented, stating “candidates look at that and make judgments based on what they see.”

Artificial Intelligence and Candidate Recruitment

Next, Mila highlighted how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics can aid many different recruitment processes. AI provides a significant list of benefits for an employer ranging from efficiency to helping improve the quality of hires. Many organizations are already using AI through the launch of interactive chatbots on their websites and resume screening tools which enhance the quality of hire overall.

As a result of the current economic climate, we find ourselves in an “employer’s market,” but Mila shares that it is still crucial to prioritize the candidate experience as the climate will shift back to a candidate’s market.

Individuals are eager to share their good and bad experiences and communication is a key component to an employer’s brand and image.  Mila reminded employers that “having a good experience, even if you don’t hire them, will go along the way in ensuring that they remember you as you may engage them for future opportunities, even if it is not for today.”

Mila shared three golden rules of recruiting: treat every candidate as a client, expect the experience to become public, and remember you are always representing your organization.  She went on to explain “35% of people would buy more goods and services even if not hired if they had a positive experience, and 52% would share their positive experience.”

Trending Toward Contingent Workers

Another hiring trend as a result of the pandemic is contingent worker expansion as companies have been forced to become more cost-conscious. Contingent workers are defined as temporary or contract workers. Mila went on to say that “32% of organizations are replacing full-time employees with contingent workers as a cost-saving measure due to COVID-19, in addition to flexibility and scalability.”

Mila described how it has become very challenging to bring in full-time resources, and the benefits of hiring contract workers allows a business to scale up and down quickly as needed. She encourages employers to “be more open-minded as we go through this unknown and uncertain time…be more empathetic, and together we can all get through this.”

Mila concluded by speaking to the transition from designing for efficiency to designing for resilience. There is a need to build resilient organizations that focus on designing a business model to be flexible and agile, allowing employees to have varied and adaptive roles. This flexible model helps employees to acquire cross-functional knowledge and training that benefit both the employee and the business.

The Reimagining Today’s Workforce Series is a series of five webinars featuring national and local experts on key topics related to workforce development.  Join the Foundation’s final webinar of the series on December 10, where Trevor Stokes, Chief Executive Officer of The Partnership for Workforce Innovation, will be diving into the labor market data, the impact of COVID-19, and the future of Arizona’s workforce.

-Written by Katherine Perez, Workforce Development Manager

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